If $800,000 is going to be spent to replace the bridge on Cape Road, it should be beautiful, structurally sound and convenient for residents and tourists.
The fate of the bridge has been a topic of discussion with the Texas Department of Transportation for more than a year. The bridge is located in John J. Stokes City Park near Thompson’s Island. TxDOT and city officials are now on board to replace the bridge, which provides a path for residents and visitors over the San Marcos River.
According to an Aug. 30 University Star article, construction is set to begin Sept. 10, and the project is supposed to last no longer than four months. The $800,000 bridge update may seem costly, but it will benefit the community overall.
It is important that the bridge is replaced due to its age and condition, according to the agenda from a June 19 city council meeting. In addition, the completed project will widen and raise the bridge for improved safety and mobility.
Aside from making repairs for regulation and safety reasons, the bridge is old and could use a little modernization. It was smart for officials to start construction on the bridge during the colder months when the project would not discourage tourists, tubers and kayakers from enjoying the river.
According to the same article, TxDOT and the bridge contractor, Dan Williams Company in Austin, originally planned to shut down the river from IH-35 to the construction site. Under that plan, people would have to exit the water and catch the river about a half-mile downstream. However, since exiting the water could harm businesses, like T&G Canoes, officials and locals joined efforts to design a plan around the construction area.
Instead of disadvantaging those who want to enjoy the river, the contractor of the project decided to cutoff the traffic closer to the bridge. That way, kayakers and tubers could use the left channel or get out of the river and only walk a little way downstream. If the contractor had chosen to make people get out and walk about half a mile, business owners, families and tourists would have been inconvenienced.
Due to the September to December time frame, the construction of the bridge is not only
needed, but it is made more convenient for the community. If officials had chosen to start construction on the bridge during the summer months, or even late spring, the traffic flow on the river would have made construction a hassle. Also, it would have most likely discouraged many people from entering the water in the first place.
Although kayakers may be a little inconvenienced due to traffic control andcongestion, the number of people present during the cooler months does not come close to the amount on the river during the spring and summer.
After a pending stage, the bridge on Cape Road is finally coming to fruition. With the compromise of construction plans for the bridge, cooperation between TxDOT and the city will greatly benefit river-goers, local businesses and the community as a whole.